Lucie Thornton – interim HR director at My Home Move – discusses the firm, the future of the conveyancing sector and what’s next for the business
Lucie, what’s your role at My Home Move and can you give us a quick overview of your own career?
For the last three years, I have been the interim HR director at My Home Move, but I also have my own business, Thornton HR LTD, which I set up four years ago. I have predominantly worked in the FS sector throughout my career, but my big focus over the last few years has been on My Home Move.
The last few years have been an exciting time for the firm. What have been the major milestones?
In 2012, My Home Move launched its ambitious growth goal to complete 100,000 mover transactions per year by 2017. As part of our growth journey, we have invested significantly in innovative technology and the development of our people. As a business, we have experienced year-on-year growth and now employ over 750 people worldwide. Our revolutionary online case-management service, eWay, was launched in 2010, creating a service that meets the needs of the modern consumer and gives clients the ability to track their cases 24/7.
We opened our CPD accredited Learning and Development Academy in 2013, which was awarded accreditation from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to deliver professional training and the Council for Licensed Conveyancers as an accredited college the following year. This facility has enabled us to provide our employees with a comprehensive education and training programme, designed specifically to progress their careers and equip them with the skills to deliver a first-class conveyancing service.
The opening of our Manchester operations centre in 2014 enabled us to increase our capacity to meet the growing demand for our service and access the wealth of legal talent that the city has to offer.
In 2015, one of the biggest achievements we have made is gaining authorisation from the SRA to deliver training contracts to our employees. We already have four people in the programme, helping them to become qualified solicitors and raising the standard of conveyancing within the industry.
We have also made a significant investment in our eWay service in 2015, building on the foundations of the award-winning service to give clients greater management and control of their case from their smartphone or tablet.
What’s next for the business?
In the last few years, My Home Move has achieved considerable success and our plans going forward are just as exciting. Next year we are launching new introducer partnerships with some of the UK leading property professionals, which will complement our current client base. What this means in terms of our business growth is that we need even more dedicated and experienced conveyancers to join our award-winning teams, to ensure our clients are given an unrivalled service.
What’s your view on how the conveyancing sector has evolved over the past five years?
The conveyancing industry has undergone a transformation over the last five years, with many conveyancing providers adapting their service to meet the needs of the modern consumer. Many within the industry are embracing new and innovative technologies and My Home Move has led the way with the launch of our award-winning eWay service in 2010.
The modern consumer expects their legal service to match the online service provided by companies such as Amazon and John Lewis, with the ability to manage their case from their mobile or tablet. In 2015, we have made a significant investment to enhance our eWay service, using the best in Smart technology to revolutionise the conveyancing process.
My Home Move is known for its defined career path approach. Can you tell us a bit about that?
Our Conveyancing Career Ladder enables our employees to progress their careers and have a clear understanding of how to move up the different levels. We have eight levels in our career ladder, ranging from trainee through to head of conveyancing, with tailored development courses for each stage. Once you work your way up to senior levels, we have a 12 month management development programme, which equips our conveyancers to become deputy or conveyancing managers.
We are working on some exciting training projects, due to launch in early 2016, which will give everyone in the business the same clear and defined career pathway as our conveyancers. We have an employee that started as a conveyancer and has since worked her way up to conveyancing manager, transferred to a role in learning and development and then moved to a position in our sales team. She was able to move across all areas of the business because we equipped her with transferable skills and we want to ensure that all of our employees can fulfil their aspirations in the same way.
How much investment does My Home Move make in training its staff?
We understand that in order to deliver an award-winning legal service, we must invest in our people and their education and training. Through the Learning and Development Academy, My Home Move invests circa. £500,000 each year.
In the last 12 months, we have delivered over 5,800 hours of training and welcomed over 70 graduates from our Academy into our conveyancing teams. We also support our students financially with their studies, including the cost of any professional membership that is needed during their training.
In October 2014, we also invested in new learning technology and launched our Virtual Academy, providing all of our employees with online access to course materials and tests. Our Virtual Academy enables us to offer our people an alternative learning style to traditional classroom-based study.
As part of our strategic objectives, we’re aiming to make My Home Move a great place to work and to develop a great management team, so we take investment in our people very seriously.
You’re also now offering trainee solicitor contracts. That’s a big step?
It’s definitely an exciting step for My Home Move. We currently have four places on the programme, which is being run in partnership with Weightmans, and we are looking to increase the numbers year-on-year. The training contracts, which were introduced following feedback from our conveyancing teams, will widen the knowledge and skills of our conveyancers, preparing the business for further growth and creating extra capacity to meet the growing demand for our service.
What new roles are you currently recruiting for?
One of the newer roles we are recruiting for is for sales technical specialists, who will form part of a newly created team which will grow to have 25 team members operating across all three of My Home Move’s operations centres.
Excellent problem-solving skills are essential for the role, as well as a willingness to go the extra mile to ensure all queries are resolved in full. A sales technical specialist will be a technically-strong conveyancer, who can give informative and compliant advice to clients on sale replies. They will work to resolve complex and technical queries involving matters such as drafting and approving Deeds of Variation and preparing Statutory Declarations, with supervision of a senior member of the team.
We also offer home working and part-time positions to our employees, which has enabled us to recruit the best talent from across the country and has unlocked a nationwide pool of resources.
Can you sum up in five words why someone might like to work at My Home Move?
As I was thinking about my response to this, I thought I would go straight to the horse’s mouth and ask the employee next to me the same question. They gave it to me in four and without taking time to think about it: “because we love it!”